Whalen takes third in discus, Green fourth in steeplechase as Buckeyes move into fourth

COLUMBUS, Ohio Senior Patrick Woods won the Big Ten title in the decathlon to lead the Ohio State men’s track and field team into fourth-place Saturday on the second day of competition at the 2009 Big Ten Championships.

The crowd at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium witnessed a personal best performance from Woods in the final home meet of his career, as he totaled 7405 points, the second-best score in school history. Minnesota’s R.J. McGinnis, who holds the top overall score in the Big Ten this year (7626), took second with 7330 points, while fellow Gopher Joey Schwecke was third with 7014 points.

“I thought we had a number of great performances with guys qualifying for the finals,” head coach Robert Gary said after the meet. “Adam Green PR’ing in the steeplechase and Patrick Whalen’s third-place finish in the discus.

“But without question the most impressive performance was turned in by Patrick Woods. A fifth-year senior, a 600-point PR and a 700-point underdog going into the meet. That mark should qualify him for the NCAA championships and set the stage for what I believe will be a very, very special last day.”

Patrick Whalen finished third in the finals of the discus throw with a toss of 51.53m. Lonnie Pugh of Minnesota and Curtis of Iowa took the first and second with regional qualifying tosses of 53.65m and 51.93m, respectively. Whalen will compete tomorrow in the shot put finals.

The steeplechase saw a fourth-place finish from Ohio State’s Adam Green, as the sophomore ran a personal record time of 9:06.71. Wisconsin junior Ryan Gasper finished first in 8:52.94 De’ Sean Turner of Indiana was second (8:56.77) and Minnesota senior Ben Puhl third (9:01.70). The top four times were regional qualifiers.

Thomas Murdaugh continued his dominance in the 400m dash, running the fastest time in the preliminary heats, a regional qualifying time of 46.45. Illinois All-American Gakologelwang Masheto took the No. 2 spot at 46.50, followed by Michigan State’s Jeremy Orr at 46.59m. The three will battle for the Big Ten title at approximately 1:45 p.m. EDT Sunday.

Running for the first time in the 200m as a collegiate athlete, Murdaugh qualified for tomorrow’s finals in the 200m dash with a run of 21.47. Teammate Curtis Leuenberger ran the third-best time in the prelims, a personal record of 21.17. Masheto of Illinois was first in 21.02 and Michigan All-American Adam Harris second with a time of 21.15.

Leuenberger, James Manley, Lamaar Thomas and Chimdi Chekwa qualified in fourth position for Sunday’s finals in the 4x100m relay with a time of 40.95. Michigan, anchored by Adam Harris, had the fastest preliminary time at 40.55, with Iowa taking the No. 2 slot in 40.73 and Illinois third with a time of 40.77.

Thomas and Chekwa ran identical times of 10.76 to qualify for the finals of the 100m dash — UM’s Harris ran the top time in the preliminaries, blowing away the field with his run of 10.39.

Jeff See, the defending Big Ten outdoor runner-up in the 1500m, ran the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the 1500 at 3:51.47. See ran neck-and-neck with Wisconsin junior Craig Miller in heat two, as Miller finished just ahead of the senior with the third-best qualifying time (3:50.96). Ben Blankenship of Minnesota and Jack Bolas of Wisconsin qualified in the top two positions out of heat two, with times of 3:50.06 and 3:50.18, respectively.

Junior Jonathan Francois qualified eighth for the finals of the 110m hurdles with a run of 14.75. Purdue’s Josh Hembrough set a regional qualifying time of 14.24 to take the top spot for Sunday’s final run, with Carl Buchanon of Michigan in second at 14.33.

Minnesota continues to lead the field at the end of day two with 67 points. Indiana is second with 41 points, followed by Purdue (30) and Ohio State and Michigan State (26). Competition resumes tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. EDT with the men’s pole vault.

Team Standings Seven Events Scored

1) Minnesota 67
2) Indiana 41
3) Purdue 30
4) Ohio State 26
4) Michigan State 26
6) Michigan 25
7) Iowa 20
8) Wisconsin 17
9) Penn State 12
10) Illinois 9